No, LASIK does not hurt. Your eyes are anesthetized and you are awake during the entire procedure. You are given 5mg of Valium (pill form) to help you relax. It is not unusual for patients to experience a sandy, gritty sensation in the eyes during the initial healing period of 24 – 48 hours after the procedure.
In every LASIK procedure, the first step is to create a thin flap of the cornea. This flap can be created using a microkeratome, which is a precise surgical instrument with a blade. This instrument is used during our Standard LASIK procedure. The flap can also be created with a femtosecond laser for a 100% blade-free procedure. The laser uses ultra-fast pulses of light to create a specific flap for your unique corneal shape.
Regardless of which procedure you choose, the next step in the LASIK procedure is the same for all patients. Everyone receives a customized LASIK treatment using state-of-the-art technology called the Wavelight® ALLEGRETTO WAVE platform. This machine allows Dr. Stein to create a completely customized treatment taking into account your unique visual needs to ensure you get the best outcome possible.
Only after careful examination by one of our doctors can it be decided if the bladeless procedure is right for you. The innovative design of the Ziemer Femtosecond Laser allows patients to experience less discomfort, faster recovery times and better visual outcomes. The bladeless procedure is a good option for patients with very high prescriptions or astigmatism. It also helps to reduce nighttime glare. In the past, patients have been told they were not a candidate for LASIK due to the shape or thickness of their corneas (excessively steep, flat or thin). With the bladeless procedure, many of these patients are now able to safely enjoy the benefits of LASIK. In addition, patients who choose the bladeless LASIK option are entitled to a lifetime guarantee or FREE enhancements for life.
It is realistic to expect vision comparable to what you were able to see with glasses or contact lenses after the procedure. At least 98% of all people can see well enough to pass a driver’s license test without any correction. We cannot, however, promise that you will never have to wear glasses again. While almost everyone has significant improvement in their best-uncorrected vision (what you can see without any glasses or contacts), some people may still need to wear a much milder prescription for reading or driving after the surgery, particularly if you are over 40 years of age. If Dr. Stein needs to perform an enhancement, this can be done once the vision has stabilized. Less than 4% of his patients need any additional procedures.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications. You may temporarily experience glare, light sensitivity, irritation, or a mild fluctuation of vision within the first few days of the procedure. The most common adverse effect after the LASIK procedure is dry eye. There are various ways of treating this condition (artificial tears) and the discomfort is usually short-lived. The risk of serious vision-threatening complications such as flap tears, striae, and infection or scarring is exceedingly rare and less than 1%. Under and over-corrections are certainly possible and treated through enhancements, which fine-tune the refractive outcome of the LASIK procedure.
Most of our patients are able to drive themselves to their first post-op appointment the following day! Most people can return to work within 24 hours, however, please ask your surgeon what is best for you.
Refractive surgery is generally considered to be an elective procedure and is not covered under most insurance programs. However, there are select vision insurance plans that offer a discount towards the LASIK procedure. Call our office for details or check with your insurance company to see if you are eligible. Many of our patients choose to use our 0% financing option through CareCredit, which provides an affordable monthly payment plan interest-free for 2 years.